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Big Five Factors of Personality


Personality is the mortal of an individual in character, thoughts or feelings. It is a person’s public image. The big five factors of personality is a theory that explains the personal traits of an individual that are summarized into five as was published by Fiske in 1949. These traits are consistent especially in adults, which are used to refer to the personality of most of them.

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The big five factors

The five factors include “Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness” whose acronym is OCEAN (Engler, 2009, p. 290). Each factor has other facets included in it which describe fully the personality of each individual. All the big five factors have a special meaning to each individual. Neuroticism is the emotional stability, extraversion and introversion, openness to experience or closeness to experiences, agreeableness and disagreeableness while conscientiousness to lack of conscientiousness. Each of the five traits is referred to as the super trait and is measured by six (6) subordinate traits or facets (Engler, 2009 p. 292). Neuroticism is measured by anxiety, angry hostility, depression, self consciousness, impulsiveness and vulnerability. Extraversion is measured with warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement seeking and positive emotions. Openness is measured within fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas and values. Agreeableness is measured within trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty and tender mindedness. While Conscientiousness is measured within competence, order, dutifulness, achievement striving, self discipline and deliberation.

The explanation involved in the big five factors suit every personality, and is supported by other theories developed. Each trait has its low scores and high scores (Ewen, 1998 p. 140). Openness is the appreciation for art, emotion adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity and a variety of experience. This is the trait that distinguishes imaginative, humble and conventional people. Openness to experience means that one is intellectually curious in aspects of nature and the like, and on the lower score people are conservative and resistant to change. Conscientiousness is the showing of discipline, responsibility and an aim for achievement. Individuals on the higher score achieve high levels of success through planning and are reliable, while on the lower score they are lazy, unreliable and careless.

Extraversion is the positive emotions and tendency to seek stimulation and accompaniment of other individuals. They are known as extraverts who enjoy being with people, are enthusiastic and talkative. People on the lower scale called introverts are quiet, less social (shy) and like to spend time on their own. Agreeableness is the compassionate and cooperative nature of individuals; they are considerate, generous and mindful of the interest of others. Disagreeable people are selfish, suspicious and uncooperative. Neuroticism is the ability to experience unpleasant emotions which include anger, anxiety or depression which is also referred to as emotional instability (Ewen, 1998 p. 140). The high scorers are emotionally reactive nervous, insecure and worried at most times, while the low scorers are calm, secure and self satisfied.

My personality

My personality is described by openness, extraversion and conscientiousness on the high score agreeableness and neuroticism on the lower score. I tend to be a non conformist, creative and imaginative; I am also social, talkative, outgoing and fun-loving. My hard working limits goes beyond words; I am also reliable and organized. I trust no one and self satisfied in all I do. I am highly disciplined, emotional and ever happy.

Personality creation and change

Kahneman, Diener, & Schwarz (1999, p.227) says “factors such as early home environment may influence personality”, hence personality can be altered in the early days of a child by influencing the environment the child is in. Changing of the adults’ personality which has been developed over the years will be an upper hill task which may never be realized. Adults have a very well developed personality and thus even as psychologist tend to manipulate the minds of adults through counseling and guidance. They are faced with a mind full of principles adopted from childhood. Moreover, many people have been seen to start taking drugs at adolescents although some begin taking drugs when they are adults. The change of principles may be the cause, although initially the personality of the individual will always remain unchanged.

Personality can be subject to change but only at specified period of ones life and only to some extent. Personality according to Engler (2009 p. 290) is the work of genetics; hence the ‘person in you’ depends on the formation genes from the parents. The genotype (genetic make up of an individual) and the phenotype (which influences ones appearance and behavior) are influenced after the interactions with the environment. This is explained by the conditions in twins having the same personality but are two different individuals. Inheritance of similar traits among family members who may be all quick to anger, or social and outgoing is common in all areas.

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Personality is internally entrenched in a person as reflected to the outside world, and therefore, changing it will often be a tall order when it comes to adults. The personality of any individual is unique and one should be proud of it since it shows diversity in the talents and mode of performing things among different people. In reality, there is no superior personality and it only takes the moral authority to make judgment as to whether the results of ones personality are ethical or not.


Engler, B. (2009). Personality Theories. NY, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing Company. Web.

Ewen, R. B. (1998). Personality, a topical approach: theories, research, major controversies. New Jersey, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc. Web.

Kahneman, D. et al. (1999). Well-being: the foundations of hedonic psychology. NY, Russell Sage Foundation. Web.

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